A group of consumers of private hospital services and their carers collaborated with staff of a Melbourne private hospital and with industry representatives to develop a consumer-driven performance report on cardiac services. During the development process participating consumers identified situational and structural barriers to their right to be informed of costs, to choice and to quality care. Their growing appreciation of these barriers led them to a different perspective on performance reporting, which resulted in their redirecting the project. The consumer participants no longer wanted a performance report that provided comparative quantitative data. Instead they designed a report that outlined the structures, systems and processes the hospital had in place to address the quality and safety of services provided. In addition, consumer participants developed a decision support tool for consumers to use in navigating the private health care sector. The journey of these consumers in creating a consumer driven performance report for a private hospital service may assist those responsible for governance of Australia's health system in choosing appropriate strategies and mechanisms to enhance private hospital accountability. The situational and institutional industry barriers to choice, information and quality identified by these consumers need to be addressed before public performance reporting for private hospitals is introduced in Australia.